Children as young as four can be referred to by their preferred gender pronouns and names in schools without their parent’s knowledge, according to a new guideline for teachers in Scotland.
Teachers are told not to say “it’s just a phase” when approached by kids who want to “discuss their gender identity.” They are also told to ask the kids what names and pronouns should be used to address them, and to “check if that’s all the time or in certain circumstances.”
The guidance also said teachers should ask the kids if and with whom they can share the information.
Schools are told if children want to change their names, they can “simply choose to tell others informally,” and schools can update the school records using a “Known As” box.
However, children under 16 who wish to formally change their name and/or sex on their records will need to have their parents or carers write to theirs schools.
Schools are also told to try to accommodate their requests to use a preferred toilet or changing room while considering the privacy of other children and staff.
Biological sexes were referred to as “people assigned male at birth” and “people assigned female” in the guidance.
Teachers are expected to deal with “transphobic bullying,” which is defined as “behavior or language which makes a young person feel unwelcome or marginalized because of perceived or actual transgender identity or transgender expression.
Apart from physical attacks, name calling, and gossiping, the guidance said that “transphobic bullying” can also include “excluding someone from conversations, activities, and games,” or “gestures, looks, and other non-verbal communication.”
Teachers are told to “help young people who demonstrate bullying behavior” by setting out “clear expectations about behavior” as well as “supporting them to make amends” where appropriate.
Marion Calder, co-director of the For Women Scotland campaign group told The Telegraph that this guidance is “really, really worrying” and that the Scottish government is pushing a “dangerous ideology.”
“It used to be commonly understood that children should be able to play and experiment with gender roles, with clothing, their likes, and dislikes,” Calder said.
“Those children are now being encouraged on to a medical pathway, potentially for the rest of their lives.”
Calder said children, especially primary school children, shouldn’t be told that it’s possible to change their sex.
Scottish Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We know transgender young people can face many issues in schools and that teachers and staff must have the confidence and skills to support their mental, physical, and emotional health.
“This guidance outlines how schools can support transgender young people while ensuring that the rights of all pupils are fully respected. It provides schools with practical suggestions.”